Someone struggling with a substance abuse problem may find it easy to gather up the resolve to say they are going to quit. They may even be successful at quitting and remain sober for a few months but find that they inevitably return to their old habits and are right back where they started.
Why is it easy to quit but so hard maintaining your sobriety in the long term? When you experience all the negative consequences of your substance abuse it seems like an obvious choice to quit.
But once you are sober you might realize how difficult and how much of a major life changing decision it is to quit using drugs or alcohol. These are some of the reasons many addicts struggle with staying sober after they have made the choice to quit.
1. Cravings and Temptation - As determined as you may be to stay sober you will eventually experience cravings for the drug you used to abuse. Cravings are a reality for many addicts in recovery because they not only developed a physical dependence on a drug but also a mental addiction.
Substance abuse becomes a psychological habit that is hard to break especially after years of drug use. To make matters even more difficult there can be forms of temptation all around you. Advertisements, movies and even friends can provide a feeling of temptation that can quickly lead to relapse.
2. Sobriety Means a Lifestyle Change - One of the reasons addicts struggle so much with staying sober is the fact that sobriety is so much more than simply quitting. Taking away the drug itself does not cure addiction and the only way to remain permanently sober is to change your life around to create a new lifestyle.
Being sober means changing your habits, your hobbies, sometimes even your friends. When you make the decision to quit drinking or using drugs you must make sure everything in your life is conducive to sobriety.
3. Social Pressure - Being a non-drinker or in some cases and non-drug user, you might find it hard to fit in and feel normal at parties or gatherings with friends. Sometimes people will not understand your decision and make you feel like the odd man out.
You will have to explain to everyone around you why you made the choice to quit and at times it can be overwhelming to deal with social situations when you are sober. You might experience more social anxiety or simply feel that you are left out of the fun that other people are having. Social pressure can be one of the most difficult aspects of being sober.
4. Stress and Emotions - Often when addicts develop a drug or drinking habit, they turn to their substance abuse in order to cope with feelings of stress. When sadness, anger and stress build up you might not know how to handle these emotions without substance abuse to fall back on.
Being sober means dealing with stress in other ways that are more positive and will keep you on track with your goals.
5. No Help or Support - Another reason many addicts struggle to stay sober after quitting is that they fail to develop the type of support system that will be with them in times of stress. Without help from friends and family you will be much more likely to relapse especially when times get more difficult.
It is crucial to have someone to talk to when you are stressed or are struggling with cravings. When addicts make the mistake of not creating a support system they will find it much harder to remain sober.